AP

Activists decry French retailer over Amazon deforestation

Jun 9, 2022, 4:56 AM | Updated: 5:54 am

PARIS (AP) — Environmental groups and representatives of Brazil’s Indigenous community are protesting Thursday outside the main Paris courthouse, urging a quick trial for a French supermarket chain accused of selling beef linked to deforestation and land grabs in the Amazon rainforest.

Several leading Indigenous representatives are in Paris and Brussels this month to denounce international threats to their territories and attract public attention to cattle farming practices in the Amazon.

Climate groups and Indigenous activists filed a lawsuit last year against France’s Casino Group, which has supermarkets around the world, accusing it of violating human rights and environmental rules. The company has said it “fights actively against deforestation linked to cattle raising in Brazil and Colombia.” A hearing is scheduled Thursday to set a date for a trial.

For the Indigenous movement, the lawsuit against Casino Group is an attempt to hold someone accountable for buying cattle they say is raised illegally in their territory, with activists warning that far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s government policies are further threatening indigenous lands.

Since taking office in 2019, Bolsonaro has repeatedly said that Indigenous peoples have too much land, saying he would revise demarcations, even though such a move is forbidden by law.

Cattle ranching is one of the main drivers of deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon, with levels reaching record highs earlier this year. More than 1,000 square kilometers (nearly 400 square miles) were deforested in April this year, according to satellite alerts. The biome holds about 57 million hectares (140.8 million acres) of pasture, an area slightly larger than France, according to MapBiomas, a network of nonprofits, universities and technology startups.

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Fabiano Maisonnave in Rio de Janeiro contributed.

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Activists decry French retailer over Amazon deforestation